The five-year anniversary of Mom’s passing is today and I thought as the years went by it would be easier to think of her without crying. It isn’t. Today has been particularly difficult. Dolly passed away in August. She was a link to remembering Mom & Dad so that may be one reason today is so difficult.
There’s no doubting that holidays without Mom are bittersweet. Mom led me to believe that her Thanksgiving & Christmas would be ruined if we didn’t come to her house and stay from first light until midnight. It was a heavy burden to be responsible for Mom’s happiness no any holiday! One year my sister left town on Christmas Eve with her boy friend Jimmy. My sister called Mom with the news that she wouldn’t be there for Christmas because she & Jimmy were moving to New Orleans that very day. Mom was devastated. She didn’t want to have any Christmas celebration if dear baby sister wasn’t going to be there. Apparently none of the rest of us mattered. This was my first hint that maybe Mom’s happiness at Christmas depended on my sister instead of on my brother and me. This was a break-through moment for me. Mom pouted & slammed things around Christmas Eve & Christmas Day & in general ruined the day for the adults. I promised myself at that time that I’d try my best to not make our daughters feel the way Mom made me feel. I hope I’ve succeeded.
In 2005 Bobby & I made one of our many visits to see Mom & Dad when they lived in Athens. They lived in a house built in th3 1940’s. The yard was beautiful which Mom really appreciated. There was a huge pecan tree in the front yard, ligustrums all along one side of the house and beautiful 4 o’clocks along the other side of the house. Mom gave us pecans gathered in the front yard, a ligustrum cutting, and alot of seeds from the 4 o’clocks. I used the pecans although I still have some left, kept out of sentimentality. I planted the ligustrum cutting and it’s doing really well. I planted the 4 o’clocks & have enjoyed them now for several years in the spring & summer when they bloom profusely. They spread so now our backyard is covered with them. This year it’s a bittersweet moment when I look at the beautiful flowers. I know Mom would’ve loved that the blooms fill the yard. I miss being able to call her & tell her to come see them like I did when she lived across the street from us. From Bobby’s mother’s yard we have clover & Tallow trees that are doing really well. From my grandmother’s yard we have a plant with purple flowers but I don’t know the name of it. It’s a nice feeling of life going on in spite of our losses.
We miss you! Today you would’ve been 88 years old. Never did we think you wouldn’t be here for your birthday this year. We missed you Saturday at Alex’s dance recital and for dinner afterward at Cafe del Rio. We missed you on Mother’s Day and Easter. Today has been a day of tears and memories. Jeff posted a yellow rose for you on facebook. Casey posted a picture of the backyard of the house on Cedar Creek Lake. Chris posted several cute photos of you & Henry. Gloria, Ada & I talked about you at the recital Saturday. We miss you Mom & we love you.
One of my favorite meals was a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup. No other brand would do! Mom’s grilled cheese sandwiches were the best I’ve ever eaten. She used Mrs. Baird’s bread (always!), Parkay margaine and Kraft American Cheese slices. First she got out her cast iron skillet, turn on the hat, buttered two slices of bread & put one slice in the skillet then topped it with one slice of cheese and the other slice of bread. It didn’t take long to brown the bread and melt the cheese. Add a Kosher dill pickle and the soup and that’s a wonderful meal. It’s funny the things I miss about being a child. That very comforting reassurance of Mom giving me this meal was one of the highlights of growing up in the 1950’s.
Mom & Dad were married on May 3, 1942 so today would’ve been their 72nd wedding anniversary. The last anniversary they celebrated together was May 3, 2006. 64 years!
Yesterday I was shopping in Brookshire’s in Gaslight, a store Mom really enjoyed shopping in too. I walked through produce and notice a bag of Clementine oranges were now available. My first thought was I’d buy a bag and split it with Mom because it was one of her favorite things but a whole bag was too much for either of us alone so we always split one. It was difficult to continue shopping. Memories like this surprise me when I’m least expecting them.
When Mom & Dad moved to Cedar Creek Lake from Corsicana in 1985 they met Billie McLester and her husband, the next door neighbors. Mom & Billie became friends & enjoyed having coffee while sitting by the lake. They traveled together often. They enjoyed going to Oklahoma to an Indian Reservation to gamble and to Shreveport to the casinos.
In October 2009 Bobby, Mom and I took a two week road trip to Vancouver, Washington to see relatives and Billie. Billie’s husband passed away several years ago so she moved to Washington to be near her brother and his family. While we were visiting Billie we decided to go to the Spirit Mountain Casino in Oregon. It was a really good day and we all had fun talking about the past and the present while Mom, Billie and Bobby played the slot machines. This picture of Mom and Billie was taken in front of Billie’s apartment in Vancouver.
Mom loved animals and considered Dolly (her Terrior) and Kitty (her cat) her best friends, especially after my Dad died in 2006. My sister gave Mom Dolly several years ago and Kitty wandered up to her house in 2007 and decided to stay.
When Mom passed away, Dolly & Kitty were homeless. No one in the family felt like they could take Dolly & Kitty so I looked into putting Kitty in a sanctuary in Woodville. Kitty has feline AIDS and can’t be outside or around other cats. Dolly isn’t child-friendly. Bobby & I brought them to our house. Because we have five dogs the plan was to keep them until we could find them a home. I should have known better! Before I knew it I was attached to both Dolly & Kitty & couldn’t even think about giving them away. Surprisingly enough, even with our five dogs, everything’s going well. I think Mom would be happy to know Dolly & Kitty are with a member of the family.
In the Spring of 2013 Mom decided she wanted “some color” in her yard so she planted Four O’Clocks and Wandering Jew in the front yard and in the back yard. The plants did really well and there was alot of color for her to enjoy. I brought seeds home from the Four O’Clocks and pieces of the Wandering Jew home to plant. I hope they do as well at my house.
Mom planted these flowers by the back door to brighten up the area around the porch
Mom planted these plants by the front door
Mom and Alex on board in New York for the trip to Chicago
Mom, Alex and Jeff sightseeing in New York
Mom traveled alot by train during WWII so she could be with my Dad wherever he was stationed in the Army. She was so young then~~ only 15 when they married in 1942. She wanted to travel by train again–it was on her bucket list & she got to take a wonderful trip from NYC to Chicago to Longview, Texas with Kelly & Alex. She thoroughly enjoyed it! It was Alex’s first real train trip. I’m so glad she got to enjoy it with Mom. Mom passed away in September 2013. Mom loved seeing Jeff, Chris & Henry in Brooklyn, NY. Henry is 3 & is Mom’s 7th grandchild. She was so proud that the Bush name would go on.